Borehole radar is an electromagnetic tool that can be applied to assist in the delineation of orebody geometry, ideally using routinely drilled cover and exploration boreholes. Successful trials of borehole radar for delineating reef horizons on South African gold and platinum mines have led to the development of a borehole radar system specifically designed for routine application in those environments. The radar design includes novel elements, including a receiver with instantaneous sampling down the borehole, and it is implemented in probes that can operate in 48 mm boreholes, with development planned for 38 mm boreholes. The radar is known as the Aardwolf BR40.
The need for information about dislocations of 3 m to reefs determines the desirable radar resolution while available access geometry determines the range requirement. The electrical properties of typical gold and platinum rocks show that the range/resolution trade-off is feasible for the majority of economically important reef horizons. Boreholes drilled horizontally or upwards are accessed using a borehole crawler.
Trials of the radar show that it meets its performance specification. The radar is robust enough for routine work underground and is easy to use. The borehole radar is a useful addition to the toolbox of the mining geoscientist because it can give information about the reef plane along a line, rather than the single point information about the reef given by a borehole.